Being Jamaican is a blessing and a curse ... J'can artiste aims to erupt in Montserrat despite descrimination

November 07, 2016
Shamracq
Smoke, steam and ash billow from the Soufriere Hills Volcano in Montserrat in 1997.
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... J'can artiste aims to erupt in Montserrat despite discrimination

There is a popular belief that Jamaicans reside in every country in the world regardless of the language or social condition, and recording artiste Shamracq proves that the belief does carry some weight.

Shamracq, whose given name is Shamar Gowe, has been a resident in Montserrat, a Caribbean country that has been severely affected by volcanic activities.

"Jamaicans always make their mark everywhere they go, whether it may be good or bad. So people often times feel threatened by us. I have faced discrimination in the island. For example, if opportunities are available for progress, those in charge prefer to give those opportunities to the native people regardless if they are more suited or qualified for the opportunity," Shamracq said.

widespread evacuations

Montserrat's volcanic activity destroyed its Georgian era capital city of Plymouth and rendered more than half of the country uninhabitable, and caused widespread evacuations.

Shamracq's family members were among those who opted to stay, and the artiste was later influenced to move to the island three years ago.

The island possesses a small music industry with a handful of recording artistes. However, Shamracq told THE STAR that the road to success in Montserrat is still not an easy one even with the progress that he has made.

The artiste is currently in Jamaica promoting a new record titled What's The Issue, which draws attention to the level of discrimination faced by Jamaicans in other countries, including Montserrat. He hopes that the validation of Jamaica reggae/dancehall fanbase will help to cement his status a reputable Caribbean artiste.

slave mentality

"Full time we stop discrimination. It no matter where yuh come from, national or non-national, a the curse fi black man, the slave mentality, we have. It's a pity to see how we have been turned back from so many places in recent times. Note, we have only two types of people, it's either good or evil. Full time we stop discrimination. What's the issue?" he stated also pointing out that parts of his statement were quoted from the song What's The Issue.

Despite highlighting that Jamaicans are sometimes treated fairly by foreigners at their borders, Shamracq also admitted that some of the discrimination is caused by other Jamaicans who have misbehaved. He therefore advises Jamaican nationals to stay out of trouble.

"I think it's both a blessing and a curse being a Jamaican. I am proud of my culture and my people and fully embrace that I am Jamaican. But often times Jamaicans create bad reputation in places they go and most times the good suffer for the bad. I have been treated like a criminal numerous times when passing overseas borders. When you travel overseas you are a representative of your country more than yourself as an individual because people often times state your nationality over name. Let us be more positive in the things we do," he said.

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